A journey with the little fruitarian runner on board. Day seven: Chora and the beach

After yesterday’s adventure we are feeling tired and sleep more in the morning. Our desire to leave the house is insignificant, but since we still haven’t done all we set out to do, we eventually convince ourselves to get into the car and then do some more walking.

It’s a very hot day and our first stop is at the bakery. Being hungry, we buy more than what we strictly need and then, after having our usual morning ice-cream by the lavender bushes in the garden of the bakery, we head to Chora, the capital of the island, a high village up on a slope, built amfitheatrically and resembling a citadel, with its extremely narrow, steep streets and small, tiled roofed houses, with wooden blinds and dozens of colorful flowers.

We walk around and visit a shop where I get a nice pyrite pendant and then we pay a visit to the folkloric museum, which is really interesting to see, especially upstairs, where you can spend time inside a traditional Samothrakiam home and read about the different functions of the home areas, feel the texture of handwoven silk fabric and wonder at the Turkish influence in Greek traditional culture and at both the Turkish and the Greek influence in the Romanian culture.

Walking along one of the narrow streets, we stop at the end of this very tight and steep staircase lined with huge begonia clay pots and are approached by this old man speaking Greek to us. He disappears after manages to direct us upstairs to this 1300s tiny dark stone church and, as soon as we enter, I feel I can’t breathe for a few seconds. It feel like a lot of anxiety and sadness has been experienced there by people desperately seeking refuge. We spend a few minutes in the cool air of the tiny church and then we are back outside, in the scorching heat.

We also visit the ruins of the local castle, built in the 1400s as part of the defense system of the island. The view of the sea from among the ruins is very nice and walking on the iron net above the water cistern feels interesting, too. Over the years it fell pray to several conquerors and at the beginning of the 21st century it actually housed the headquarters of the local police, but the building was eventually taken down so that now the castle has historical and touristic value to the island.

A bit later, after we get some fruit (of course, you know for who) and cold water, we head south and crash on Lakkoma beach, under a bamboo umbrella, enjoying the soft breeze and the small waves licking the hot pebbles on the shore. We read and write, take naps and relax.

It is here that, for the first time, I read out loud a story to my boys: “The Fork-Tongued Princess” from “Tales of the Peculiar” by Ransom Riggs – the book I got from the English bookshop in Uppsala, Sweden, this winter, a month and a half before the little fruitarian runner came into our lives. He shows his gratitude through repeated kicks that start his father and me giggling.


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A journey with the little fruitarian runner on board. Day five: A special day on Samothrakis

It is my travel companion’a birthday today, so it’s a special day. We are kissed by butterflies in the morning, both on the balcony and outside the bakery while we are having our ice cream. The kissing continues in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods, a very special ancient place of rare stillness and worshiped rocks, as well as numerous wise olive trees, where we see baby olives for the first time.

The archeological museum is closed for repairing work, so we just visit the archeological site, of which I have read is one of the most important archeological sites in Greece and the place where the statue of the Winged Nike of Samothrakis was discovered. But that’s now at the Louvre, so I guess I’ll have to go see it there some day.

It is a very hot day today and we need time in the shade, drinking plenty of water, resting and talking. We take a long break at the spring outside the archeological site and then go to Fonias River, a truly wonderful place, a fairy tale valley going up the mountain, in the soft music of the waters on which dragon flies are dancing tirelessly, their wings shining in the hot sun filtered by the leaves and sent back to he sky by the water’s mirror. We are too hot and take a bath in the first ‘vathra’ we find.

Then we go and watch the sunset on Panagia Kamariotissa beach, on this long and narrow stony stretch of land going far into the sea. Everything is perfect here, at the end of the world, where we collect stones and eat cherries and pears washed on the sea (slightly salted this time, for the little fruitarian runner). I don’t take any pictures, but watch that perfect red ball of fire tonight diving into the cold waters of the sea. I just want to remember, I want it forever in my heart and mind. Here and now, with the perfect color of your skin, your boy’s face looking up at the sky and my proud, round bump under your hands.

I imagine watching the sunset together with our kid and telling him how the sun goes to sleep in a land faraway, beyond the great sea. And later his dad telling him the truth: “Son, it actually goes to the other side of the world, to wake up the Chinese; because someone has to work in this world.”


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